15th of June

Saints Vitus, or Guy, Crescentia, and Modestus, martyrs, 4th century. St Landelin, Abbot of Crespin, 686. St Bernard of Menthon, confessor, 1008. Blessed Gregory Lewis Barbadigo, Cardinal Bishop of Padua, confessor, 1697.

Born. – Anthony Francis de Fourcroy, eminent French chemist, 1755, Paris
Died. – Philip the Good, of Burgundy, 1467, Bruges; René Aubert de Vertot, French historian, 1735, Paris; James Short, maker of reflecting telescopes, 1768; Francis Pilatre de Rosier, killed by falling from a balloon, 1785, near Boulogne; Freteau de St Just, guillotined, 1794, Paris; Thomas Campbell, poet, 1844, Boulogne.


On the 15th of June 1567, a very hot sunny day, two little armies lay facing each other on a piece of gently sloping ground in Haddingtonshire. Along the crest of the rising ground were about two thousand men, many of them mounted, being chiefly the retainers of a powerful noble, James Earl of Bothwell. Beside the leader were one or two females on horseback, not as taking part in the war, but as under protection. The principal lady was Mary queen of Scots, who had lately wedded Bothwell, knowing or unknowing (who can ever tell which?) that he reeked with the blood of her former husband, Darnley. The army grouped on the slope below was composed of troops hastily assembled by a few nobles who professed indignation at this horrible marriage, and anxiety on account of the danger into which it brought the heir of the crown, the son of Mary, an infant of a year old. All through that long summer day there went on conferences for various issues, with a view to avoiding a hostile collision between the armies. And at length, towards evening, the queen consented to pass under the care of the insurgent lords, on a promise of respectful treatment. The blood-stained Bothwell then took leave of her, and withdrew within his own country to the eastward. They had been married but a month – and they never met again. The infatuated queen, refusing to declare against him or give him up, was deposed, while her infant son was crowned as king in her stead. Bothwell, hunted from the land, took to sea; was chased there; and obtained refuge in Denmark. His bold and unscrupulous mind had speculated with confidence on being at the head of everything in Scotland through the queen’s means. But public opinion was too strong for him. The Scotch people had been accustomed to see a good deal of violence practised by their men of affairs, but they could not stand seeing one king killed, and his murderer placed almost in the throne beside his widow. 

It is only of late years that we have got any clear account of Bothwell’s subsequent history. It appears that Frederick king of Denmark for some time treated him as a refugee of distinction, who might in time be once more a ruler in his own country. By and by, when made aware of how he stood in Scotland, the Danish monarch became cooler, and remanded the exile to the castle of Malmö, in Sweden, which then belonged to Denmark, and where he was treated as a prisoner, but still an honourable one. Frederick was pulled various ways; the Protestant government in Scotland demanding the rendition of Bothwell as a murderer and the associate of a Catholic sovereign, – Mary, and her friend the king of France, claiming his liberation; Bothwell himself offering to assist in getting the Orkneys back to Denmark as the purchase-money of freedom and assistance. Five years passed in fruitless negotiations. The cause of Mary being in 1573 regarded as ruined, Frederick unrelentingly assigned the Scottish noble to a stricter and baser imprisonment, in the castle of Drachsholm in the island of Zealand. Here his seclusion was so great, that a report of his being dead spread abroad without contradiction; and Mary herself, in her English prison, regarded herself as a widow some years before she really was one. It is now ascertained that Bothwell died on the 14th of April 1578, when he must have been about forty-seven or forty-eight years of age, and after he had endured a captivity more or less strict of nearly eleven years. He was buried in the neighbouring church of Faareveile. So ended a dream of ambition which at first must have seemed of fair enough prospects, being not much out of keeping with the spirit of the age, but which had been signally unfortunate in its results, precipitating both of the principal parties into utter ruin, and leaving their names to suspicion and reproach through all ages. 

Mr Horace Marryat, travelling in Denmark in 1858, paid a visit to Faareveile church, and there, in a vault, found the coffin of Bothwell, which had originally been deposited in a chapel of the Adeler family, but afterwards placed in the church, that it might be more conveniently open to the visits of strangers. On the lid being raised, the English visitor beheld the figure of a man of about middle height, whose red hair mixed with grey denoted the age of fifty; with ‘high cheek bones, remarkably prominent long hooked nose, somewhat depressed towards the end (this may have been the effect of emaciation), wide mouth; hands and feet small, well-shaped, those of a high-bred man.’ The whole aspect suggested to Mr Marryat the idea of ‘an ugly Scotchman,’ though we think it hard to judge of a man’s looks after he has been three hundred years in his grave. Mr Marryat remarks, ‘Bothwell’s life was a troubled one; but had he selected a site in all Christendom for quiet and repose in death, he could have found none more peaceful, more soft and calm, than the village church of Faareveile.’1 It is worthy of remark, that on being first discovered, ‘the body was found enveloped in the finest linen, the head reposing on a pillow of satin;’ which looks like an evidence that Bothwell was treated with consideration to the last. If it be true, as alleged, that he was for some time chained up in a dungeon – and Mr Marryat tells us he saw, in what is now a wine-cellar, the ring to which he is believed to have been fixed – it may be that the one fact is not irreconcilable with the other, as the consignment to chains in a dungeon might be only a part of the horrible medical treatment for an insane person customary in that age. 

A curious relic of Bothwell came before the public in November 1856, in the form of a book from his library. Life is full of surprises. Who could have dreamt that the murderous Scotch earl of the sixteenth century had a library at all? From this volume it fully appeared that he must have possessed one, for it bore his arms stamped on its side; of course, he could not have had a book-stamp unless he had had a plurality of books on which to get it impressed. Another curious and unexpected circumstance was the nature of the book. Had it been one devoted to the arts of the chase, or a copy of Boccaccio, one would not have been much surprised: strange to say, it was a philosophical book – L’Arithmétique et Géométrie de Maistre Etienne de la Roche,‘ printed at Paris in 1538. Of the fact of Bothwell’s ownership of the book left no room for doubt, for not only were the arms impressed, but the inscription, ‘JACOBUS HEPBORN, Comes Bothv. D. Hailes Crichtoniæ Liddes. et Magn. Admiral. Scotiæ.’ It was supposed that the binding had been executed in France. The volume was purchased by Mr James Gibson Craig, of Edinburgh, for thirteen guineas, and deposited in his beautiful and extensive collection, beside an equally precious volume from the library of Queen Mary.

1  A Residence in Jutland, &c. 2 vols. 1860, i, 419.

On this Day in Other Sources.

In 1336 Edward III., still prosecuting the cause of the minion Baliol against King David, re-fortified the ruin [of Edinburgh Castle]; and on the 15th June Sir John de Kingeston was again appointed its governor; but he had a hard time of it; the whole adjacent country was filled by adventurous bands of armed Scots. The most resolute and active of these was the band of Sir Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie, whose place of retreat was in the caves beneath the romantic house of Hawthornden, then the abode of a traitor named Abernethy, and which are so ingeniously constructed as to elude the vigilance of the most cunning enemy to whom the secret is unknown, The entrance is still seen in the side of the deep draw-well, which served alike to cloak their purpose and to secure for the concealed a ready supply of pure water. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.21-26.

In 1567 [the Black Turnpike] was the town mansion of the provost of the city, Sir Simon Preston of Craigmillar, Balgay, and that ilk, ancestor of the Earls of Desmond in Ireland. It was to this edifice that Mary Queen of Scots was brought a prisoner, about nine in the evening of Sunday the 15th of June, by the confederate lords and their troops, after they violated the treaty by which she surrendered to them at the Carberry Hill. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.204-212.

The Queen, and her councils, taking into their consideration the disorders of the borders, issued a proclamation; commanding all her people, in the more southern shires, to assemble, at Melros, on the 15th of June [1567], with fifteen days provision; to proceed with the Queen, and her lieutenant, her husband, against the rebellious borderers. It was immediately, rumoured, by the insurgents, that this force, which was directed, to assemble on the Tweed, was not intended against the borderers, but to take the Prince, from the Earl of Mar’s charge in Stirling castle. Such was the credulity of the people, in such an age, of censoriousness, and calumniation, it was believed, that a force, collected on the Tweed, was to attack Stirling castle, in an opposite quarter. Knox is express upon the point, that a force, which was marched into the south, was clearly intended to besiege Stirling castle, which is so far northward, from the Tweed. Buchanan, and Hume, the historian of the Douglasses, rather laugh at this absurd rumour; and mention circumstances, which evince, that the object assigned was the true design. 

Intelligence of the Queen’s movements reached Edinburgh, before midnight. The insurgents, instantly, marched out to Restalrig, where they rested till the morning. Early, on Sunday morning, the 15th of June, they marched forward to Musselburgh, where they refreshed themselves: And, hearing that the Queen, with her army, had marched forward to Carberry-hill, where she took post, the insurgents marched out of Musselburgh, and arranged themselves in two divisions before her; the Earl of Morton commanding the first; and the Earl of Athol the second. 

On the commitment of the Queen, to Lochleven castle, without a cause, it became necessary, to find some new pretext, for such an apparent violation of all their proclamations, which avowed their great object to be, the liberation of the Queen from Bothwell: They owed this explanation to the public, and to some of their associated, who were not complete villains. On the preceding day, the 15th of June, Grange had settled with the Queen the terms of agreement, on which she would leave Bothwell, for the insurgents; and which Morton, the chief, had ratified, in the name of the whole. A letter was now produced, purporting to be an epistle, from the Queen to Bothwell, on the night of her coming to Edinburgh: Morton had, probably, demanded some expedient of Secretary Maitland, who had the pen of forgery always, in his hand. The secretary now produced a supposed letter, from the Queen, to Bothwell, in which she is made to call him dear heart, whom she would never abandon. When Grange reproached the noble insurgents, for their bad usage to the Queen, and for their worse treatment of him, for breaking the engagement, which he had made with her, by their directions, they shewed him this letter, from Maitland’s pen: and assured him that their lives, and lands, depended on the Queen’s commitment. Grange remained dissatisfied, however; and if they had not shown him this suppositious letter, he would have left them. But, of the sending, or writing such a letter, there never were any proofs produced. Confined, and guarded, as she was, pen, ink, and paper were not at hand, if she had such follies, in her head. When it had answered the purpose of the day, this suppositious letter, was never again seen, nor heard of, in that age of forgeries. 

– Life of Mary, pp.155-184.

When Murray, as Regent, called, the Privy Council, on the 4th of December, eleven days before the meeting of Parliament, the wise men therein met, with Morton, as chancellor, at their head, could find no other way to justify their proceedings, since her capture, on the 15th of June [1567], and no other means, to save harmless the insurgent nobles, but her private letters, which were written, and subscribed, with her own hand, and sent by her to Earl Bothwell, who acted, meantime, as a complotter with themselves, whom she afterwards married, improvidently. This, then, being the only charge against the Queen, on the 4th of December, it is fair to ask them, what had become of the three charges against her before mentioned: her tyranny; her incontinency; and the murder of her husband, with all the proofs, which they had recovered, and possessed, the answer must be, that they had mounted to the moon: If a graver answer be required, it must, necessarily, be, that such charges, and proofs, never existed any where, but in the confident talk of Secretary Maitland to Throckmorton, Elizabeth’s envoy. 

– Life of Mary, pp.184-206.

The said James, earl of Bothwell was cleared and acquitted of the treasonable murder and parricide of our late dearest father, by a letter of his own called a cartella signed by himself and judicially delivered, he pitted himself against a noble gentleman who had in no way been defamed who had dared to assert that he [Bothwell] was guilty of the abominable crime and was duelling with him, and according to the law. This notwithstanding, the same James, earl of Bothwell refused on 15 June to take issue with the noble baron and lord of our parliament on this appeal, drawing down on himself the charge of defeat by ordeal. The foresaid James, earl of Bothwell and the foresaid persons plotted, treated, enquired and deliberated in their perpetration of these horrible, treasonable and nefarious crimes, and offered and demonstrated advice, help and assistance to the perpetrators and conspirators, so that he might more easily succeed in his nefarious, abominable and impious plot. [James VI: 1567, Edinburgh, Parliament.]

London Quarterly.

Murray’s career of vengeance was, in some measure, stopped, by the arrival, on the 15th of June [1568], of Middlemore, with Elizabeth’s letter, beforementioned. In the meantime, Murray had sent his usual Secretary, John Wood, to London, with copies of the supposititious letters of the Scotish Queen, which had been translated, as Murray affirmed, from the originals, for the perusal of Elizabeth, and Cecil; and to offer, to make a declaration to them of his whole doings. The arrival of Middlemore, on the 15th of June, seems to have thrown Murray into great embarrassment; the more so, as he had so recently sent his secretary to Elizabeth; in order to lay before her Mary’s suppositious epistles, with regard to which, Elizabeth remained perfectly silent. He now repeated his wish to Middlemore, that those epistles might be considered, by the English councils, and the result of their deliberations communicated to him; in order that he might know, whether they concurred with him, in thinking them decisive of the Scotish Queen’s guilt. Whenever those ill-fated letters came within the serious contemplation of Murray, he constantly evinces his suspicion of some defect. 

The arrival of Middlemore, with Elizabeth’s commands, on the 15th of June, at Dumfries, did not quite stop the Regent’s military operations against the Queen’s friends, much less prevent the forfeiture of his own foes, in the subsequent parliament of August. He knew, that Cecil would protect him, however Elizabeth might pretend to apprehend him. In fact, Cecil found reasons, for delaying the enquiry, at York, to suit Murray’s purpose, rather than Mary’s impatience. 

– Life of Mary, pp.206-234.

June 15 [1626]. – ‘Betwixt the hours of eight and nine in the morning, there appeared a phenomenon in the open firmament, which was looked on by many as a presage of some future calamity. The sun shining bright, there appeared, to the view of all people, as it were three suns; one be-east, and the other south-be-west the true sun, and in appearance not far from it. From that which lay south-west, there proceeded a luminary in the form of a horn, that pointed north-west, and carried as it were a rainbow, in colour gray, but clearer than the rest of the sky. Whether these signs were ominous or not, manifold were the calamities which then prevailed.’ – Stevenson’s Hist. C. Scot. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.228-256.

On the 15th of June, 1630, Sir Jerome Lyndsay of Annatland resigned the office in favour of Sir James Balfour of Denmylne,* who was crowned as Lyon King by George Earl of Kinnoul, Chancellor of Scotland, acting as royal commissioner, and in 1633 he was created a baronet. Balfour, an eminent antiquary and annalist, was well versed in heraldry, to perfect the study of which, before his appointment, he proceeded to London and became acquainted with Sir Robert Cotton, and Sir William Segar the Garter King, who obtained for him from the heralds’ college a highly honourable testimonial, signed and sealed by all the members of that corporation. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.364-372. 

* I’ve uploaded my transcription of ‘The Historical Works of Sir James Balfour Of Denmylne and Kinnaird, Knight and Baronet; Lord Lyon King at Arms to Charles the First, And Charles the Second. Published from the original manuscripts preserved in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates.‘, by James Haig (1824), along with my own Companion edition (in updated language and with additional information).

June 15 [1633]. – The king arrived in Edinburgh, accompanied by the Duke of Lennox, the Marquis of Hamilton, and divers other Scotch and English lords and gentlemen to the number of about five hundred. His furniture and plate were carried about with him in princely form. He, riding on horseback, was received at the West Port in a theatrical manner, after the fashion of the allegorical entertainments with which Ben Jonson has made us familiar. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.228-256.

To meet these several expenses the magistrates, among other resources, “ordainit that publicatioune be made throw the toun be sound of drum that the inhabitants of this burghe bring thair haill silver plait to be bestowit in defence of the Commoun Cause in hand, conforme to the ordinance of the Committee at Edr.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.162-175. 

1  15th June, 1639.

June 15 [1678]. – Great efforts were made during this reign for the building of bridges and repairing of roads, but generally with little good effect. As an example of the actual condition of a road near the capital of the country at this time, we find the first four miles of that from Edinburgh to London – namely, from the Clockmill Bridge to Magdalen Bridge – are described as being in so ruinous a state, that passengers were in danger of their lives, ‘either by their coaches overturning, their horse falling, their carts breaking, their loads casting, and horse stumbling, the poor people with the burdens on their backs sorely grieved and discouraged;’ moreover, ‘strangers do often exclaim thereat.’ A toll of a halfpenny for a laden cart, and a sixth of a penny for a laden horse, was authorised in order to get this piece of road kept in repair. – P. C. R

– Domestic Annals, pp.322-337.

Cromwell in his time garrisoned the castle of Rothesay; and to this island the unfortunate Archibald, Earl of Argyle, came with his army in May, 1685, when he had engaged in concert with the Duke of Monmouth to invade the kingdom. The Earl brought with him from Holland three small ships laden with arms for 5,000 men, 500 barrels of gunpowder, a number of cannon, and other implements of war. He ordered his ships and military stores to an old castle which stood on the small rock of Eilan-greg, near the mouth of Loch Riddan, opposite to the north end of Bute. There he deposited his spare arms and ammunition under the protection of his ships and the garrison of 180 men. At this time the inhabitants of Bute were plundered of almost their whole moveable property. After Argyle had been about ten days in Bute, having received notice that a great body of forces, with three ships of war and some frigates, were coming to attack him, he hastily retreated. The naval armament arrived, and proceeded on the 15th of June to Loch Riddan, where the Earl’s frigates immediately struck to them, and the castle also surrendered. After removing the arms and stores into the king’s ships, the naval commander caused the castle to be blown up.

– Gazetteer of Scotland, pp.177-178.

The islet of the Bass, situated a couple of miles off the coast of East Lothian, in the mouth _20180929_023922.JPGof the Firth of Forth. As well known, while rising a column of pure trap straight out of the sea, it shelves down on one side to a low cliff, where there is a chain of fortifications, with a difficult landing-place underneath. the late government had employed this fortalice as a state-prison, chiefly for troublesome west-country clergymen. After the Revolution, the new government sent some of Dundee’s officers to undergo its restraints. On the 15th of June 1691, while most of the little garrison were employed outside in landing coal, four of these prisoners, named Middleton, Halyburton, Roy, and Dunbar, closed the gates and took possession of the fortress. Next evening, they were joined by Crawford, younger of Ardmillan, with his servant and two Irish seamen. The Privy Council at Edinburgh was greatly enlarged, but it had no means of reducing the place. It could only put a guard on the shore to prevent intercourse with the land, and make a couple of armed boats cruise about to intercept marine communications. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.342-354.

2 thoughts on “15th of June

    1. Same love! Wonder how extensive it was? I read in newspapers of these autions happening all the time and wish so much to have been able to attend and see what goodies were up for grabs x

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